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So far olh has created 27 blog entries.

Student Volunteers

International and Summer Student Volunteers
An Experience That Opened Our Eyes

Over the last number of years, the Volunteer Office has taken a small number of international students during the summer months as part of the Volunteer Student Programme.

International students come from various colleges in North America for a period of 8 – 10 weeks as part of their internships or academic exchange programme. Linking with organisations such as EUSA and CAPA, students are vetted, sent all the necessary volunteer documentation and have a phone interview with one of the Volunteer Coordinators before they begin. Every student placement and reason for coming here is unique – particularly as they are so far from home – and we are delighted to welcome them into the programme each year. They learn about all aspects of volunteering, Irish culture and for them the unique experience of an overseas placement.

All students during the summer months receive the same mandatory and on-site training as every volunteer in OLH&CS. The summer and international students bring huge personalities, great enthusiasm and experience into the summer programme and are a valuable asset to our team.

All enquiries should be made through the Volunteer Office.

Volunteers pictured during their summer placements are Tia Goodwin (Dublin), Mackenzie Klaver (Kansas) and Mallorie Gagnon (New York)

An Experience That Opened Our Eyes

I first started coming to volunteer at Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in January 2015. I was participating in the Gaisce (Presidents Award) as part of transition year and I needed to do community work somewhere. My friend suggested that I should come to the hospice as she had been doing volunteering there since September the previous year. On my first day at the hospice I had no idea what to expect and was quite daunted at the prospect. Having Hannah come in with me really helped. When I came into the Volunteer Office, I was greeted by a lady called Niamh who was one of the volunteer coordinators. Niamh went over some of the rules and training and told me what I would be doing there. Seeing Niamh’s friendly face made me less nervous as I began to realise that the hospice was not a scary place, but a place filled with friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere.

Once a week from then on, Hannah and I came down to the hospice for an hour to help with feeding at tea time. The more I went, the more comfortable I became with the work we did. Over time I got to know lots of the people’s name who stayed and worked there. Sometimes when I would be assisting a patient with their tea, they started to shout at me but I understood that it’s not their fault and they mightn’t realise what they are doing. I’ve learnt that you need to have thick skin! After I finished transition year, I kept volunteering at the hospice during the summer. I didn’t want to just have to stop going anymore so I continued on.

The hospice has opened my eyes to many things that I never even thought about before. It has taught me to have more respect and tolerance for our older generation. Every time I come home from the hospice I feel fulfilled and like I’ve spent my day doing something worthwhile and I haven’t sat around on my phone all day. There is never a dull moment being a volunteer at Our Lady’s Hospice whether I am helping with baking, skittles, assisting with feeding or sitting down in the restaurant enjoying a cup of free coffee – another perk of being a volunteer!

I am so glad I got to become a volunteer at the hospice and I would definitely recommend it to anyone else.

Eva Kirwan, age 16

The day finally came; the first day of my work experience in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services. For months people had told me that choosing this would be an experience and it would be an eye opener. I thought that it was a great chance to give back to the community and something that is out of my comfort zone.

As soon as we pulled up outside the beautifully built building, a wave of nervousness came over me. It was subtle but they say nerves are not such a bad thing. I made my way straight for the Volunteer Office and the minute I walked in the room, I was immediately greeted by the volunteer coordinator Niamh. Her warm welcome and calm vibe soon washed my nerves away. We started into an introduction on how to correctly wash your hands, manoeuvre a wheelchair safety and help feed a patient with ease. I was most sceptical about the wheelchair pushing as I am quite clumsy. As soon as the introduction lesson was over we headed over to the wards.

We soon discovered that there are four wards in the Extended Care Unit. From the very first day I was on St. Michael’s Ward which I couldn’t enjoy more. The day would start off by collecting patients and wheeling them to Mass at 10am. I enjoyed this part as you would get an opportunity to chat to the patients. After this we would go to have a quick coffee break and then collect the residents/patients from mass. When all the patients were back safety in their rooms, we would then get the tea, soup and biscuit trolley and go around each of the rooms giving out refreshments. This is a lovely activity as you get to chat with the residents and learn their personalities. After this task was completed we would collect the patients for baking. I absolutely loved this activity because as well as being fun, it helped the patients with their hand coordination and was something different for them to do. Each week it seemed like they were really enjoying it.

Soon after this activity it was time for lunches and we would go to our allocated ward. Feeding was always an aspect of this work experience that people don’t enjoy but I really didn’t mind it as I knew it was an important element. It was a relaxing time of the day and helped you to get to know the residents better. When finished, we would go for lunch and then set up the afternoon activity which was skittles, bingo or crossword. This was the most enjoyable part of the day as a good few patients would get together to play these games. I have so many fond memories of these afternoons like on our last day it was a big Christmas party and they had a singer in which all the residents loved.

I learnt so much in my 13 weeks in Our Lady’s Hospice that I will carry with me my whole life. When people said that it would be an eye opener, they couldn’t have been more correct. It opened my eyes in so many ways. It makes you see life differently and makes you want to live it to its fullest because life is short and everything goes by so quickly. During my time there I build up many bonds with the patients and will never forget them as they are what made it special for me. Just knowing I made at least one person smile during their last few days or even hours was the most rewarding thing of all.

Hannah Thomson, age 16

Eva and Hannah

By | January 26th, 2017|Categories: Volunteer Story|0 Comments

Volunteers at Blackrock Hospice

Jim Hoare
Siobhan Semple

My name is Jim Hoare and I have been volunteering at Blackrock Hospice for the past six years. When I retired from a career in banking, I felt I had more to give and didn’t want to just play golf, travel and live a sedentary lifestyle. Blackrock Hospice was the first place I applied to as a volunteer. Initially I was informed that there were no vacancies available unless I was interested in a position as a receptionist at weekends. I jumped at the opportunity as I like meeting people.

The job is varied – sometimes I may have to locate the doctor on call and pass on information from a particular patient who may be at home at the time. Then there is the moment when the undertaker might ring to ask what time would it be convenient to collect the remains of the person who passed on during the previous night. I also receive donations from groups and individuals and issue a receipt for same. I take first time visitors to the wards personally, introduce them to the staff on duty and show them where the canteen is located.
The feeling I get when entering a place where people come to spend their last days is one of serenity and peace. There is a wonderful feeling of respect, dignity and divine love in the building and the energy I am sure is from the angels looking after everybody.

I am sometimes called upon to read a book or the paper for someone. This often spills over into a chat about anything under the sun.
I know the patients are grateful for the service the hospice provides and the staff of the hospice are grateful for those of us who give of our time to volunteer in whatever capacity.
I wish to continue my volunteering services by applying the skills I have developed over my working career.

Jim Hoare

I am married to Bob and am the mother of 3 grown up children. In 1996, 2 years after my mum died from cancer, I joined Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Harold’s Cross as a volunteer and then in 2006 I moved to Blackrock Hospice as it was closer to home.

I am an evening volunteer, which means I arrive in after the kitchen staff have gone home at 6.00pm and stay for 2 hours. My main task is to be an extra pair of hands for the nursing and caring staff. I visit each patient (there are 12 rooms) and offer them and their visitors a cup of tea. I find it is often the visitor that appreciates the tea more than the patient, as they may be sitting with their loved one all day long. I will also do any general tidy up in the sitting rooms and the 2 bedrooms that are there especially for families. If a nurse or carer recognises that a patient would like to chat to someone or perhaps have a paper or book read to them, I am there to do so.

What I love most about volunteering in the Hospice is that I leave the busy world behind and enter a space of calm and peace. I love the way the staff – who must be run off their feet at times – know each patient individually and act with such care, compassion and love. People say to me the hospice must be a very sad place to volunteer in, but nothing could be further from the truth. If I were to advise any new volunteers I would say, be yourself. Life in the hospice is very normal for the patients, who are encouraged to live life to the full and our role as volunteers is to help them do so.

Siobhan Semple

By | January 26th, 2017|Categories: Volunteer Story|0 Comments

E-Learning: Check out our Online Courses

Managing Older Peoples’ Pain using a Palliative Care Approach

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: €25

Target Audience: Health Care Professionals involved in the care of older people

This e-learning programme provides an introduction to the delivery of holistic and evidence based pain assessment and management in the older person, using a palliative care approach.

The course has interactive content throughout and is composed of three sections:

1. Palliative Care and the Older Person

2. Assessment of Pain in an Older Person

3. Management of Pain in an Older Person

The programme will provide participants with opportunities to:

  • Describe the holistic principles and practice of palliative care for older people
  • Classify the different types of pain
  • Determine how to optimally assess pain in older people
  • Describe evidenced-based analgesia options for managing pain safely in older people

There is a €25 fee for taking this course, which you can pay using your credit or debit card via the PayPal option once you have registered for the course. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this facility, simply choose the “Don’t have a PayPal account” option.

If you wish to pay via cheque or require an invoice, please contact the Education & Research Centre at Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services at education@olh.ie or call 01 4068810.

Click here to register / log in to the course

Psychosocial Care for People with Motor Neurone Disease

Duration:  1 hour 20 minutes plus (20 minutes per module)

Cost: Free

Target Audience: Healthcare professionals and people providing care for people with MND

Accreditation: The programme has been awarded 4 CEUs from An Bord Altranais and it is accredited by IASW. Applications are currently pending with other bodies

Psychosocial care is care that is concerned with the psychological and emotional well-being of the person with MND. Everyone associated with the care of people with MND can offer psychosocial care. This resource explores the psychosocial challenges and approaches that can be used to address them. This resource explores the following questions:

  • What is MND, how does it progress and is there a support network for healthcare professionals?
  • What are healthcare professionals’ experiences of providing care for people with MND? What are the care experiences of people with MND like and what are their preferences for care?
  • What are the communication challenges when providing care for people with MND? What approaches can support people with MND and healthcare professionals in providing care?
  • What are the psychological challenges for people with MND? As a healthcare professional what approaches can support the person with MND?

This online course has been developed by healthcare professionals in Our Lady’s Hospice Care & Services, MND Centre Beaumont Hospital and Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. The Irish Hospice Foundation financed the course development and AIIHPC supported ELearning development.

Click here to register / log in to the course

Enter your details below to receive further information

By | January 3rd, 2000|Categories: Course|0 Comments

Videos (Talks & Conferences)

By | January 2nd, 2000|Categories: Course, Dementia, Gerontology, Rheumatology, Spirituality|0 Comments